For Immediate Release - April 12, 2017

Governor Charlie Baker Makes Two Judicial Nominations

BOSTON – Today, Governor Charlie Baker nominated Mark A. Hallal to the Superior Court, and Matthew G. McGrath to the District Court. During their long careers, Hallal and McGrath have practiced law in private firms and the public sector.

“Mark Hallal and Matthew McGrath are experienced trial lawyers with over five decades of combined experience in the Commonwealth’s courts,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “If confirmed, the Superior Court and District Court will benefit greatly from their experience, wisdom and skill.”

“I am pleased with the nomination of these two highly respected attorneys,” said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito. “Attorneys Hallal and McGrath have decades of experience in the Massachusetts courts that will allow them, if confirmed, to serve the Commonwealth with proficiency and distinction from day one.”

The Superior Court is a statewide court of general jurisdiction – handling both criminal and civil actions.  The court’s 82 justices sit in 20 courthouses in all 14 counties of the Commonwealth.  The Superior Court has original jurisdiction in civil actions over $25,000 and in matters where equitable relief is sought.  It also has original jurisdiction in actions including labor disputes where injunctive relief is sought, has exclusive authority to convene medical malpractice tribunals, has appellate jurisdiction over certain administrative proceedings, and may hold sittings for naturalization in any city or town.  The court has exclusive original jurisdiction of first degree murder cases and original jurisdiction of all other crimes.

For more information about the Superior Court, visit

http://www.mass.gov/courts/court-info/trial-court/sc/

The District Court hears a wide range of criminal, civil, housing, juvenile, mental health, and other types of cases. District Court criminal jurisdiction extends to all felonies punishable by a sentence up to five years, and many other specific felonies with greater potential penalties; all misdemeanors; and all violations of city and town ordinances and by-laws. In civil matters, District Court judges conduct both jury and jury-waived trials, and determine with finality any matter in which the likelihood of recovery does not exceed $25,000. The District Court also tries small claims involving up to $7,000 (initially tried to a magistrate, with a defense right of appeal either to a judge or to a jury). The District Court's civil jurisdiction also includes many specialized proceedings, including abuse prevention restraining orders and civil motor vehicle infractions (tried initially to a magistrate, with right of appeal to a judge).

For more information about the District Court, visit http://www.mass.gov/courts/court-info/trial-court/dc/

Judicial nominations are subject to the advice and consent of the Governor’s Council. Applicants for judicial openings are reviewed by the Judicial Nominating Commission (JNC) and recommended to the governor. Governor Baker established the JNC in February, 2015 pursuant to Executive Order 558, a non-partisan, non-political Commission composed of volunteers from a cross-section of the Commonwealth's diverse population to screen judicial applications. Twenty-one members were later appointed to the JNC in April, 2015.

About Mark A. Hallal

Mark Hallal has served as an Assistant District Attorney for over 21 years in the Boston Municipal and Juvenile Courts, Chelsea District Court and the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office where he is currently Chief of the Senior Trial Team, supervising the prosecution of major felony and homicide cases and serving as a member of the office’s Conviction Integrity Program. He previously served on the Boston Bar Association’s Criminal Law Steering Committee and was an adjunct professor at Bridgewater State College and the University of Massachusetts-Boston. Mr. Hallal previously worked as a civil litigation associate in Boston for both Lemelman and Lemelman and Stanzler, Levine and Joyce.  Mr. Hallal was born in Boston and graduated cum laude from Boston University in 1990.  He received his J.D. from the Boston University School of Law in 1993.  Hallal resides in Hingham with his three children.

About Matthew L. McGrath

Matthew McGrath is currently in private practice in Framingham and was until November of 2016, managing attorney for McGrath and Associates, a four-person insurance defense firm that served as the staff counsel for National General Insurance Company and handled personal injury actions in the state District and Superior Courts and federal district court. Prior to opening this practice in 2010, McGrath was a Senior Trial Counsel for the Law Offices of Robert E. Noonan, trying personal injury actions and arbitrating and mediating hundreds of uninsured, underinsured, and bodily injury claims.  Mr. McGrath previously worked as an Assistant District Attorney for the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office from 1980 to 1986 and served as a Lieutenant in the U.S. Naval Reserve from 1985 to 1992.  He graduated from Boston College with a B.A. in History in 1976, and received his J.D. from Boston College Law School in 1979.  He resides with his family in Franklin.